One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissue of the body. The disrobed client is covered by a sheet, with only the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of stroking, kneading, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil or lotion, to reduce friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which can speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.
Techniques which utilize deep tissue and muscle massage are applied to manipulate both the musculature and fascia. These techniques require more advanced training and a more thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep tissue massage. Tight superficial muscles may inhibit the practitioner from reaching deeper muscular pain and prevent injury rehabilitation. Deep tissue massage may help reduce the inflammation caused by arthritis and tendonitis. This technique is generally integrated with other massage techniques.
Trigger Point Therapy/Myofascial Release Trigger points are a very common natural experience for most of us. They are present in muscles, at least in their latent state, most of the time. They are behind many of the disabilities that cause us to feel stiff, achy, and not as flexible as we once were. Trigger points are known to cause headaches, neck and jaw pain, low back, and many other types of pain and discomfort frequently ascribed by the medical field as arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and ligament injury. You may not even suspect that you have latent trigger points because they don't cause pain. However, they are easy to find because they hurt when you press on them. They represent areas of joint stiffness and reduced range of motion. Latent trigger points easily convert to active trigger points by stress, strain, or overuse of the muscles involved.
Trigger points are extremely sore points in muscles that send pain to other areas of the body. When the trigger point exists, it represents a small mass of contracted sarcomeres in the muscle fibers that disrupt the normal flow of blood circulation in the capillaries that serve the fibers. This contraction creates an "energy crisis" in the muscle fiber in which increased calcium ions in the muscle hold the muscle in a locked-up contraction.
Trigger points may be deactivated by techniques which both end the cycle of low blood circulation and cause increase the elimination of waste products of cell metabolism.
Myofascial release is the multi-dimensional application of both sustained pressure and stretching of the connective tissue in order to eliminate restrictions and to facilitate the gliding activity of muscles.
Massage frequently helps to reduce the discomfort of pregnancy and enhances the physiological and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. In the postpartum period, massage helps to re-balance the muscles and ligaments stretched during pregnancy and alleviates low back pain.